Social ethos and the teaching of politics in post-1997 Hong Kong: A teachers' account

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Abstract

Government and Public Affairs (GPA), a political subject with public examinations, was founded in mid1980’s. It was part of the attempt to prepare Hong Kong people for the development of representative government, which would be needed for self-rule after her reunification with China in 1997. This article reports GPA teachers’ perceptions of the prevailing social ethos after the change of sovereignty. The teachers explain how they will teach politics amidst an increasingly difficult social environment, marked by conservatism and promotion of nationalistic sentiment on the one hand, and by political divisions and sensitivity towards political teaching on the other. The teachers’ top priority becomes that of good public examination results and partly because of this a highly teacher-centred mode of teaching is commonly adopted. Teachers are aware of the risk of indoctrination in political teaching. However, this is only considered a problem relating to the government’s attempt to influence people’s mind, and the teachers never think of themselves as possible indoctrinators. Besides, many of them believe that they should share their beliefs with students. Though the teachers in general support democracy, paradoxically, excessive commitment to the belief is found in some cases to bring forth pedagogies of an authoritative nature. Copyright © 2007 Symposium Journals Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-159
JournalCitizenship, Social and Economics Education
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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Hong Kong
politics
Teaching
teacher
examination
reunification
conservatism
sovereignty
promotion
commitment
democracy
China
student

Citation

Yuen, T. W. W. (2007). Social ethos and the teaching of politics in post-1997 Hong Kong: A teachers' account. Citizenship, Social and Economics Education, 7(3), 147-159.

Keywords

  • Social education
  • Politics education
  • Pedagogy